Skip to content

Temple signs 23 to National Letters of Intent

Matt Rhule AP

(Below is Temple’s press release on the players added as part of its 2013 recruiting class.)

PHILADELPHIA (2/6/13) – The Temple University Football Program, under the leadership of first-year head coach Matt Rhule, signed 23 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.

Geographically, the states best represented in the Owl class are Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Ten student-athletes list their hometowns in the Keystone state, while 10 hail from the Garden state.

Additionally, two signees call New York home; one signee comes from Virginia.

Temple’s 2013 recruiting class is ranked in the BIG EAST Conference at No. 7 by Rivals.com and No. 9 by Scout.com. The Owls’ earned the top ranking in the Mid-American Conference in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2012.

Ten of the 19 high school signees attended the Temple Football Camp (53%). Over the past four years (2010-13), 71 percent of the signees have attended the Temple Football Camps.

Seven of the signees—Dion Dawkins, Paul Layton, Jihaad Pretlow, John Rizzo, Averee Robinson, Adrian Sullivan, and Kiser Terry— enrolled in classes in January 2013. Layton is a transfer student from the University of Albany.

The Owls begin spring practice on March 22 in preparation for BIG EAST Conference play in 2013. The squad’s annual Cherry & White spring game is slated for Saturday, April 20 at 1 p.m. at Edberg-Olson Hall. Temple returns 46 letterwinners and 15 starters, including Freshman All-American and BIG EAST Rookie of the Year Tyler Matakevich.

(Writer’s note: below the jump are the complete bios of all 23 members of Temple’s 2013 recruiting class.)

Jarred Alwan
Linebacker • Freshman • 6-1 • 215
Cherry Hill, N.J. • Camden Catholic HS

High School: Three-star prospect by Rivals.com … ranked the No. 23 player in the state of New Jersey … played for coach Gil Brooks at Camden Catholic HS … participated in the North-South Game … selected Temple over Boston College and West Virginia.

Personal: Jarred Alwan … born November 30, 1993 … parents are Narci and Gamal Alwan … plans to study risk management and actuarial science in the Fox School of Business.

Matt Barone
Offensive Line • Freshman • 6-3 • 280
McKees Rocks, Pa. • Montour HS

High School: Three-star prospect by Rivals.com … ranked 13th nationally at center … played for coach Lou Cerro at Montour HS … team went 35-6 during his prep career with a WPIAL title and a runner-up finish … participated in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … as a junior, team went 12-3 and advanced to the PIAA Class AAA state semifinals in 2011.

Personal: Matt Barone … born March 2, 1995 … Montour teammate Tyler Haddock is a fellow Temple signee.

Buddy Brown
Linebacker • Freshman • 6-2 • 205
Williamstown, N.J. • Williamstown HS

High School: Three-star prospect by Rivals.com … played for coach Frank Fucetola at Williamstown HS … participated in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … as a junior, had 87 tackles, six sacks, and four forced fumbles … participated in the North-South Game… selected Temple over more than 20 other BCS offers, including Rutgers, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Personal: Shawn Brown, Jr. … born July 13, 1994 … parents are Tiffany and Shawn Brown, Sr. … has two sisters— Destiny (21) and Brianna (16) … father is a retired police officer … loves history … Williamstown teammate Jullian Taylor is a fellow Temple signee … considering a double major in kinesiology and business.

Brian Carter
Defensive Line • Freshman • 6-4 • 280
Harrisburg, Pa. • Harrisburg HS

High School: Two-way lineman for coach Calvin Everett at Harrisburg HS … three-year starter … 2012 first-team All-Mid-Penn Conference honoree on offense … selected to participate in the Big 33 Game … selected Temple over Connecticut.

Personal: Brian Carter … born November 7, 1994 … parents are Melody Fleming and Melvin Washington … guardian is Tracey Smith.

Jim Cooper, Jr.
Placekicker/Punter • Freshman • 6-1 • 205
Linwood, N.J. • Mainland Regional HS

High School: U.S. Army All-American … three-star prospect by Rivals.com … played for coach Robert Coffey at Mainland Regional HS but kicking coach was his father, Jim Sr. … participated in the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Personal: James Cooper, Jr. … born October 19, 1994 … parents are Marie and James Cooper, Sr. … father was also a kicker at Temple (1983-86) under head coach Bruce Arians.

Dion Dawkins
Offensive Line • Freshman • 6-5 • 330
Rahway, N.J. • Rahway HS • Hargrave Military Academy

Mid-year student that enrolled at Temple in January 2013.

Postgraduate: Played offensive tackle for coach Troy Davis during the 2012 season … bolstered an o-line that helped the Tigers rush for more than 150 yards per game … selected Temple over Cincinnati.

High School: Played offensive and defensive tackle for coach Gary Mobley at Rahway HS … graduated in 2012 … participated in the North-South Game.

Personal: Dion Ray Dawkins … born April 26, 1994 … parents are Lisa Dawkins and Eric Dawkins.

Sharif Finch
Linebacker • Freshman • 6-4 • 210
Henrico, Va. • Henrico HS

High School: Played linebacker for coach Roger Brookes … as a senior, had 84 tackles and five sacks … as a junior, had 161 tackles and 10.5 sacks … selected Temple over Miami and East Carolina.

Personal: Sharif Finch … born October 1, 1995… parents are Wendy Finch and Greg Finch … originally from Queens, N.Y.

Artrel Foster
Defensive Back • Freshman • 6-0 • 170
Meadville, Pa. • Meadville HS

High School: Played cornerback and running back for coach Mike Feleppa at Meadville HS … four-year varsity starter … in prep career, had 4,248 all-purpose yards, including 3,249 rushing yards on 499 carries, 37 touchdowns, 130 tackles, and six interceptions … 2012 District 10 Region 5 first-team honoree on defense, second-team honoree on offense … rushed for 101 yards in 2012 season opener against Northwestern … named one of the Top 100 juniors in Pennsylvania … 2011 District 10 Region 5 first-team honoree on defense, second-team honoree on offense … rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a junior and sophomore … as a junior, had three interceptions … also a 2012 first-team All-Region honoree in basketball on defense and second-team All-Region on offense … attended the 2012 Temple Football Camp … participated in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … also played basketball … selected Temple over Cincinnati and Penn State.

Personal: Artrel Jonte Foster … born June 24, 1995, in Meadville, Pa. …. parents are Tammy Foster and Art Bell … has an older sister, Asia Foster (24), and a younger brother, Armoni Foster (13) … cousin is Wade Manning, former WR/CB (1979-82) for the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos … considering a career in graphic design or athletic training.

Tyler Haddock
Defensive Line • Freshman • 6-2 • 290
Pittsburgh, Pa. • Montour HS

High School: Three-year letterwinner at defensive tackle for coach Lou Cerro at Montour HS … unanimous All-Parkway Conference selection as a two-way player … team went 35-6 during his prep career with a WPIAL title and a runner-up finish … in prep career, had 120 tackles and 15 sacks … as a junior, team went 12-3 and advanced to the PIAA Class AAA state semifinals in 2011 … totaled 100career tackles, 26 TFL, 15 sacks, and three fumble recoveries at the end of his junior season … also a three-year letterwinner in wrestling … went 60-29 … attended the 2012 Temple Football Camp … started in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … Honor Roll student … active with Big Brothers/Big Sisters … selected Temple over Georgia Tech and Rutgers.

Personal: Tyler James Haddock … born December 16, 1994, in Pittsburgh, Pa. … parents are Sharon Jones and John Jones (stepfather) … Montour teammate Matt Barone is a fellow Temple signee … intends to study sports management.

Todd Jeter
Defensive Back • Freshman • 6-0 • 169
Monroeville, Pa. • Gateway HS

High School: Played wide receiver and defensive back for former coach Terry Smith, now at Temple, at Gateway HS … also returned punts … 2012 All-State selection … 2012 Quad East All-Star … 2012 second-team All-Foothills Conference honoree on defense … helped the Gators to a 9-2 record in 2012 en route to a Quad East championship with a perfect 8-0 record … team advanced to the WPIAL AAAA playoffs … as a senior in 2012, had 322 receiving yards and two touchdowns while making 27 tackles and two interceptions … averaged 20 yards per catch … played for the North squad in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … selected for the 2013 Big 33 Game.

Personal: Todd Jeter … mother is Renee Boswell.

Leon Johnson
Offensive Line • Freshman • 6-6 • 300
Plainfield, N.J. • Bound Brook HS

High School: Two-way lineman for coach Dom Longo at Bound Brook HS … as a senior, had 20 tackles, including 15 solo stops … also played center for the Crusaders’ basketball team … selected Temple over South Florida and Ohio State.

Personal: Hubert Leon Johnson … prefers middle name … born June 4, 1995 … mother is Valerie Graves.

Paul Layton
Punter • Senior • 6-1 • 215
Burnt Hills, N.Y. • Ballston Lake HS • Albany

Transfer student from the University at Albany … enrolled at Temple in January 2013 … graduated in December 2012 … has one season of eligibility.

Honors: 2012, 2011, and 2010 first-team All-Northeast Conference honoree … 2012 College Football Performance FCS Punter Watch List … 2012 All-Northeast Conference Preseason Team … named the 2011 Great Danes’ Most Valuable Special Teams Player (team award) … named a 2011 ECAC Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Special Team All-Star … Northeast Conference Special Teams Player of the Week (twice) … 2010 NEC Academic Honor Roll … 2009 Capital District Student Scholarship.

College: Three-year letterwinner at punter for head coach Bob Ford at the University at Albany … averaged 41.0 yards in career. 2012: Played in all 11 games at punter … averaged a league-best 40.4 yards per punt, including a program record 82-yarder vs. Wagner (11/3) … punted 46 times with 11 sailing 50-yards or longer … dropped 15 within the 20-yard line. 2011: Averaged 42.6 yards per punt, ranking 9th among the national leaders … booted 17 kicks of 50 or more yards. 2010: Averaged 40.1 yard per punt as a redshirt freshman … ranked 31st among the national leaders and third in the Northeast Conference … placed 14 punts inside the 20-yard line, including seven for touchbacks … booted 50-plus yard punts 12 times … tied 13th-longest punt in school history with 69-yarder in season finale against Monmouth … kicked a 63-yard punt at Duquesne and a 61-yarder at Maine. 2009: Redshirted. Selected Temple over Penn State and Notre Dame.

High School: Four-year letterwinner for coach Matt Shell at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake HS … 2008 Class A first-team All-State selection by New York State Sportswriters Association as a kicker … made 68 of 69 PATs and three field goals … third on all-time Section II kicking list with 77 points … averaged 42 yards per punt … all-time leader in Section II history with 172 career kicking points … 2008 Large School Offensive Player of the Year by the Albany Times Union … first-team All-Area by Daily Gazette and Troy Record … led high school to state championship game as a quarterback … passed for 1,302 yards and 14 touchdowns … rushed for 1,186 yards and 20 TDs … BHBL won second sectional title in last three years … consensus All-Area punter as a junior, when he averaged 41 yards per attempt … earned third-team All-State honors as a quarterback … career stats: 2,861 passing yards, 34 passing TDs, 2,002 rushing yards, 28 rushing TDs … four varsity awards as basketball guard … two-time team captain … National Honor Society member … Math Honor Society member … Business Honor Society member … participated in Big Brothers.

Personal: Paul K. Layton … born November 5, 1990, in Burnt Hills, N.Y. … parents are Karen and Jim Layton … has two older sisters, Jessica (32) and Lauren (26), and an older brother, Steve (30) … all siblings were college athletes … brother played tight end at Union College … Jessica played soccer at Syracuse, and Lauren played field hockey at SUNY Oswego … graduated from Albany in December 2012 with a degree in business administration… pursuing a master’s degree in marketing.

Jihaad Pretlow
Defensive Back • Freshman • 5-11 • 185
Elizabeth, N.J. • Blair Academy

Mid-year student that enrolled at Temple in January 2013.

High School: Played running back for coach Jim Stone at Blair Academy … as a junior, rushed for 838 yards and 19 touchdowns as the Bucs went 7-0 overall … also made four interceptions as a defensive back … played two seasons with nationally ranked basketball team … selected Temple over Connecticut, Penn State, and Rutgers.

Personal: Jihaad Pretlow … born March 15, 1994 … parents are Bayyinah Pretlow and Malik Jackson … father played football at Rutgers in the early 1990s … played Pop Warner football with fellow Temple signee P.J. Walker.

Shane Rafter
Offensive Line • Freshman • 6-4 • 282
Moorestown, N.J. • Moorestown HS

High School: Played offensive and defensive tackle for coach Russ Horton … three-year letterwinner … 2012 All-County honoree on defense … helped the Quaker to the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs … as a junior, had 61 tackles and three sacks … the first player to commit to Temple in the 2013 class … participated in the 2011 National Underclassmen Combine … also a two-year letterwinner in track and ice hockey … selected Temple over Connecticut, Rutgers, and Syracuse.

Personal: Shane Rafter … born July 7, 1994 … parents are John and Barb Rafter … has a sister, Jamie.

Semaj Reed
Offensive Line • Freshman • 6-7 • 270
Philadelphia, Pa. • Haverford School

High School: Played defensive end for coach Michael Murphy at the Haverford School … also played basketball … selected Temple over Buffalo and Maryland.

Personal: Semaj Reed … mother is Jacqueline Reed … originally from Newburgh, N.Y. … interested in political science, criminal justice, and business.

John Rizzo
Fullback • Freshman • 6-1 • 221
Johnstown, Pa. • Richland HS

Mid-year student that enrolled at Temple in January 2013.

High School: Played running back for coach Brandon Bailey at Richland HS … 2012 Tribune-Democrat first-team All-Area … as a senior, rushed for 1,769 yards and 20 touchdowns … played in the East-East Game … three-time state heavyweight wrestling champion … selected Temple over Penn State, Pitt, and Georgia Tech.

Personal: John Rizzo … born February 13, 1993 … parents are Lynda and Tony Rizzo … has six siblings— Anthony (26), Marlena (24), Frank (23), Joe (21), Christina (15), and Mario (14).

Averee Robinson
Defensive Line • Freshman • 6-1 • 285
Harrisburg, Pa. • Susquehanna Township HS • Milford Academy

Mid-year student that enrolled at Temple in January 2013 … originally signed National Letter of Intent with Temple in February 2012.

Postgraduate: Three-star prospect by Rivals.com … played the 2012 season for coach Bill Chaplick at Milford Academy.

High School: Played defensive tackle for coach Joe Headen at Susquehanna Township HS … 2011 Harrisburg Patriot-News first-team Defensive All-Star … as a junior, had 46 tackles and eight sacks … also wrestled … won consecutive PIAA heavyweight wrestling championship in 2012 and 2011… attended the 2010 Temple Football Camp.

Personal: Averee Robinson … born October 17, 1993 … parents are Terry and Adrian Robinson, Sr. … older brother is former Temple Owl and three-time first-team All-MAC DE Adrian Robinson (2008-11) who just finished his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Adrian Sullivan
Offensive Line • Freshman • 6-5 • 270
Babylon, N.Y. • Babylon HS • Worchester Academy

Mid-year student that enrolled at Temple in January 2013.

Postgraduate: Played one season for coach Tony Johnson at Worcester Academy (Mass.) … Honor Roll student.

High School: Played offensive tackle and defensive end for coach Rick Punzone at Babylon Junior-Senior HS … team went 15-6 his last two seasons … named to the 2012 Best Players on Long Island Honor Roll for basketball.

Personal: Adrian Sullivan, Jr. … parents are Sonja Stewart and the late Adrian Sullivan, Sr. … uncle is former Temple and current San Diego Chargers assistant coach Andrew Dees.

Jullian Taylor
Defensive Line • Freshman • 6-5 • 230
Glenside, Pa. • Williamstown (N.J.) HS

High School: Versatile athlete … played defensive end, tight end, and linebacker for coach Frank Fucetola at Williamstown HS … 2012 All-State, All-Mid Athletic, All-Group 5, and All-South Jersey honoree … team went a perfect 12-0 en route to the 2012 state Class 5 championship as a senior, had 60 tackles and 14 sacks … participated in the North-South Game … volunteered for Mastery Charter School’s beautification project … selected Temple over Iowa and Virginia Tech.

Personal: Jullian Patrick Taylor … born January 30, 1995, in Philadelphia, Pa. … parents are Rufus Taylor and Rolanda Brewer … has a younger brother, Jay (8), and a younger sister, Mia (8) … father is a Temple alum who was a walk-on the men’s basketball team in 1989 … Williamstown teammate Buddy Brown is a fellow Temple signee … intends to study business.

Kiser Terry
Defensive Line • Freshman • 6-3 • 260
Feasterville, Pa. • Neshaminy HS • Milford Academy

Mid-year student that enrolled at Temple in January 2013 … originally signed National Letter of Intent with Temple in February 2012.

Postgraduate: Three-star prospect by Rivals.com … played the 2012 season for coach Bill Chaplick at Milford Academy … saw action at defensive end.

High School: Three-star prospect by Rivals.com … selected to play in the 2012 Big 33 Game and the 2011 Chesapeake Bowl … team captain … played defensive end and tight end for coach Mark Schmidt at Neshaminy HS … 2011 PA Football News Honorable Mention All-State honoree … 2011 EasternPAFootball.com Honorable Mention All-State selection … 2011 Philadelphia Inquirer first-team All-Southeastern PA pick … 2011 Suburban One first-team All-Conference honoree … 2011 Neshaminy Mr. Lineman coaches’ award recipient … 2010 second-team All-Conference selection … Redskins went 12-2 in 2010, his junior season, and advanced to the District 1 AAAA championship game … as a junior, had 47 tackles, including 40 solo stops, a team-best six sacks, and three forced fumbles.

Personal: Kiser Terry … born August 11, 1993 … mother is Betty Terry … older brother Terrell Channell lettered in football at Temple in 2006.

Jahad Thomas
Running Back • Freshman • 5-10 • 170
Elizabeth, N.J. • Elizabeth HS

High School: Ranked the fourth-best running back in the state of New Jersey … all-purpose back for coach John Quinn at Elizabeth HS … helped team to the 2012 state title … participated in the North-South Game … captained two sports as a junior … starter on the nationally ranked basketball team.

Personal: Jahad Thomas … born November 6, 1995 … parents are Connie Thomas and Eddie Roberts … Elizabeth HS teammate P.J. Walker is a fellow Temple signee.

P.J. Walker
Quarterback • Freshman • 6-1 • 200
Elizabeth, N.J. • Elizabeth HS

High School: Dual-threat quarterback for coach John Quinn at Elizabeth HS … 2012 Newark-Star Ledger State Offensive Player of the Year … helped team to the 2012 state title … as a junior, one of the state’s most accurate passers … went 120-of-189 (63.5 percent) for 2,168 yards and 18 touchdowns … in the NJSIAA sectional final against Piscataway, threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 199 yards and a touchdown … four-year starter … participated in the North-South Game … also played basketball … team reached the 2012 Group 4 final … selected Temple over Connecticut and Rutgers.

Personal: Phillip Walker, Jr. … born February 26, 1995… parents are Tamicha Drake and Phillip Walker, Sr. … Elizabeth HS teammate Jahad Thomas is a fellow Temple signee … played Pop Warner football with fellow Temple signee Jihaad Pretlow.

Zaire Williams
Running Back • Freshman • 5-11 • 188
Sicklerville, N.J. • Timber Creek HS

High School: Three-star prospect by Rivals.com … ranked by Rivals as the No. 36 overall running back and New Jersey’s 16th-best player overall … played for coach Rob Hinson … participated in the 2012 Chesapeake Bowl … selected Temple over West Virginia.

Personal: Zaire Williams … born October 25, 1994 … father is Bruce Williams.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: American Athletic Conference, Articles, Temple Owls
yo

Reports: Texas Tech cans DC Matt Wallerstedt

Matt Wallerstedt

Go ahead and file this in the “whoa, didn’t expect this so soon” folder.

Within minutes of each other Thursday afternoon, both CoachingSearch.com and FootballScoop.com reported via Twitter that Matt Wallerstedt has been fired as defensive coordinator by head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Mike Smith is expected to take over the coordinating duties on that side of the ball.

Tech is expected to release a statement confirming the move at some point this afternoon.

The apparent decision to can Wallerstedt, in his second season at Tech, comes just five days after Arkansas ran over, through and around the Red Raiders in an embarrassing 49-28 loss Saturday in Lubbock. In that game, the Razorbacks ran for 438 yards while passing for just 61.

Smith, a 2004 TT graduate, held the titles of co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach.

As it stands now, the Red Raiders’ defense is second-to-last in rushing defense and 106th in scoring defense through three games.  Last season, Wallerstedt’s first, they were 74th and 90th, respectively, in those categories.

(Photo credit: Texas Tech athletics)

Permalink 5 Comments Back to top

Ark. St. can return remembrance crosses to helmets

Arkansas State Cross

The fact that an attorney complained to Arkansas State about memorial crosses placed on the football team’s helmets triggered action from the university, with the crosses being altered or removed so that only the initials of the dead remained.  It also, though, triggered an outpouring of criticism of the school from those who felt they caved to the interests of a single individual at the expense of the majority.

One of those levying the most pointed criticism was the Liberty Institute, a conservative Christian legal organization that had complained in a letter to the university that it had infringed on the private religious rights of the players.

In the end, they’re right back to a similar place where they were prior to the original complaint lodged over a week ago: the players can have crosses on their helmets, if they want them there. And they won’t be placed their by an employee of the school as before; rather, the players themselves will be able to affix crosses or any other NCAA-sanctioned tribute to former defensive lineman Markel Owens and former equipment manager Barry Weyer Jr., who both died back in 2013 in separate incidents.

The university allowed that it was wrong for the school to place the crosses on the helmets originally. “The sticker idea originated among the coaches and the coaches’ small group of football players on the Leadership Council,” a letter from ASU System President Charles Welch to the institute stated, also noting that the stickers were paid for using public funds.  That will not happen this time around.

According to the same letter, “[t]he display of these stickers will be totally voluntary and completely independent of university involvement. The university will not procure the stickers, purchase them, or affix them to the helmets.”

ASU officials had consulted with their counterparts at the Liberty institute to come up with a solution that allows the individuals to make the choice.  It also came after conversations with its own legal team and the NCAA.

“In the interest of allowing our student-athletes to memorialize their fallen colleagues, Markel Owens and Barry Weyer, it is the university’s position that any player who wishes to voluntarily place an NCAA-compliant sticker on their helmet to memorialize these individuals will be able to do so,” the letter from the university continued.

The Liberty Institute issued its own statement hailing what it referred to as “a great victory for the players of Arkansas State University!”

“According to the letter we received from the University and communications from the Arkansas Attorney General Office, the players will be allowed to place the original cross sticker design on their helmets in the original location if they so choose.

“The University officials and the Arkansas Attorney General did the right thing restoring the religious liberty and free speech rights of the players to have the original cross sticker design if they so choose and we commend them for doing so.”

A Red Wolve football player had complained that the school had violated his right to free speech because of the cross flap, which gained the interest of the institute. The school, though, denies the player’s right to free speech was infringed upon due to the university’s actions.

In the letter referenced previously, the institute was taken to task by the president for disseminating what it called misinformation over what led to the school’s initial decision.

The University’s response said “The foregoing facts are in stark contrast to the misinformation contained in your letter stating that the ‘students designed the helmet sticker,’ that ‘[e]ach teammate affixed the sticker to his helmet,’ and that the ‘stickers were designed by the students on their own.'”

The letter also said that all of this was done without the advice of counsel. The University argued that “Accordingly, when the school modified the stickers to avoid Establishment Clause concerns, no student speech was infringed.”

(Photo credit: Arkansas State athletics)

Permalink 3 Comments Back to top

Sooners to debut alternate unis vs. WVU

Photo: Oklahoma Athletics

Because, of course, there’s something inherently wrong with their classic, iconic, traditional football duds.

Regardless, Oklahoma revealed Wednesday that they will be wearing alternate uniforms for the nationally-televised game against West Virginia Saturday night. This version is actually one of the different alternate combinations announced back in July but have yet to be worn.

Head coach Bob Stoops sounded positively thrilled over the debut of the uniforms.

We just thought we might as well use them. Since you got them, you eventually got to use them,” Stoops said.

As we wrote a couple of months ago, the Sooners will have a pair of alternate uniforms to choose from moving forward.

One adopts a white alternate helmet, while one features a wood grain pattern in the numbering, lettering and the helmet itself. The wood grain is supposed to be reminiscent of, a press release stated, “the weathered texture of the Sooner Schooner, a Conestoga reminiscent of the pioneer mode of travel employed by the hearty souls who settled Oklahoma Territory around the time of the 1889 Land Run.”

The newer uniforms also feature the phrase “47 straight,” a tribute to Oklahoma’s NCAA record winning streak running from 1953 through 1957.

The uniforms that will be worn in the Big 12 opener against the Mountaineers in Morgantown will have the wood-grain theme.

Oklahoma Uniform

Permalink 5 Comments Back to top

Status of starting Gamecocks guard for Vandy game up in the air

North Carolina v South Carolina

Already dealing with the loss of Mike Matulis until at least midseason because of a knee injury, South Carolina’s offensive line could be set to take yet another injury hit.

South Carolina confirmed Wednesday in their practice notes that Cody Waldrop did not practice again because of an unspecified injury to his left knee.  It was the second practice in a row that the starting guard, who was seen walking with the aid of a crutch, had missed.

The injury occurred late in the win over Georgia this past Saturday, and is expected to keep him out of this weekend’s game against Vanderbilt.

Waldrop has started the first two games this season at right guard.  Oddly enough, Waldrop became the starter because of the injury to Matulis.

If Waldrop is out e would be replaced in the starting lineup by Will Short.

Permalink 3 Comments Back to top

UConn, Mizzou schedule home-and-home for 2015, 2017

Bob Diaco AP

Using Bob Diaco’s favorite analogy, he’s baked one serious ingredient into his future schedule cakes.

Mizzou announced a home-and-home series with UConn to be played in 2015 in Columbia and 2017 in East Hartford, giving UConn its first power-five opponent of the Diaco era. UConn will travel to Faurot Field on Sept. 19, 2015 and welcome the Tigers to the Northeast on Sept. 23, 2017.

UConn already has a tough trip to Provo to face BYU scheduled for 2015 as well as non-conference home games against Villanova and Army. A home-and-home series with Virginia will be played in 2016 and 2017, while UConn has Big Ten bottom-feeders Illinois and Indiana on its 2019 and 2020 schedules. Adding an SEC opponent certainly will be a good test for Diaco’s Huskies.

UConn doesn’t do a whole lot for Mizzou’s future non-conference schedules, as there’s plenty of work to be done in East Hartford before Diaco gets the Huskies to a competitive level in the AAC, let alone on a grander scale. Mizzou faces FCS side Southeast Missouri State and travels to Arkansas State in 2015 while welcoming Purdue to Columbia in 2017.

Permalink 4 Comments Back to top

So who is Sean Maguire, other than being Florida State’s first-half QB vs. Clemson?

Sean Maguire AP

Chances are, Florida State won’t ask Sean Maguire to do too much in the first 30 minutes against Clemson Saturday night. With Jameis Winston getting himself suspended, Maguire will step in — and while it may not cost Florida State a win, swapping Winston for Maguire certainly makes Saturday night’s game in Tallahassee a little tougher for the ‘Noles.

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes on Maguire:

– He’s a redshirt sophomore who stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs 220 pounds.

– Maguire completed three of five passes for 28 yards in garbage time this year and went 13 of 21 for 116 yards and a touchdown a year ago, again being used only in garbage time.

– The Sparta, N.J. native was rated by Rivals as a three-star pro-style quarterback out of high school. According to Rivals, Buffalo was the only other school to offer Maguire, who committed to Florida State in early June of 2011 (about 10 months before signing day).

– Florida State’s official website offers this:

ran a wing-T offense in high school which didn’t allow for many passing opportunities…made the most of the ones he got displaying good arm strength, touch, the ability to change ball speeds and ability to consistently throw a catchable ball with accuracy to all three levels

– The wing-T? Alright then. Good on him for sticking it out at his high school instead of transferring somewhere with a 21st-century offense, I guess.

Again, Florida State probably won’t ask Maguire to do a whole lot against Clemson other than hand the ball off. But if Clemson stacks the box with eight guys and forces FSU into some passing down situations, Maguire may need to make some throws — and if those don’t go well, the door could very well be open for Clemson to steal a win at Doak Campbell Stadium Saturday night.

Permalink 7 Comments Back to top

Ripple effect of Auburn-Kansas State will be felt well beyond Manhattan tonight

Big 12 Football Media Days Getty Images

Kansas State hosts Auburn tonight in a game that’s not only massive for the outlook of things in Manhattan, Kan. This is a game that carries far-reaching implications in Norman, Okla., Waco, Texas, East Lansing, Mich., and across a large swath of the South.

If K-State pulls off the upset and Aggieville parties long into Friday morning, the Big 12 will get a massive boost as a whole. K-State’s road to the College Football Playoff would all of a sudden open up, even if it’s an unlikely path: The Wildcats’ Big 12 schedule sends them to Oklahoma and Baylor, while there’s a tricky road game at West Virginia in there, too.

It’d be foolish to doubt Bill Snyder, but chances are, K-State won’t make a serious playoff push. But the Wildcats would do Oklahoma or Baylor a huge favor by beating Auburn tonight — they’d give those teams another chance at a solid win over the course of a fairly light Big 12 schedule.

If one spot in the College Football Playoff comes down to a one-loss Big 12 team vs. a one-loss Big Ten team (looking your way, Michigan State), a win over a K-State team that toppled Auburn could go a long way toward the selection committee going with the Big 12 team. Oklahoma will have a win over Baylor or Baylor will have a win over Oklahoma, giving either side a better victory than Michigan State or any other Big Ten team will have this year. But if Oklahoma trips up Saturday at West Virginia or Baylor gets knocked off by Texas in Austin, a win over K-State could help counter-act that defeat.

Or consider this: Would a one-loss Big 12 team get a higher seed or spot in the playoff over a one-loss Florida State? If the ‘Noles fall to Clemson or Notre Dame in Tallhassee or Louisville on the road, would a weak ACC schedule come back to bite them? (Probably not, but it wouldn’t be a slam dunk.)

Those clinging to the hope of a Big Ten team making the College Football Playoff should be rooting for two things: Auburn to win tonight, and then chaos to reign in the SEC West. An Auburn win weakens the Big 12 while boosts a conference that doesn’t really need a boost. The Big Ten has an advantage over the Big 12 in its conference championship game, meaning there’s a good chance a one-loss Michigan State team faces a one-loss Wisconsin side in Indianapolis.

The best-case for the Big Ten would be for Michigan State to run the table, beat that one-loss Wisconsin team and have a resume of “hey, we took care of our business except for a nearly impossible task in Week 2 in Eugene.” That’s not a bad resume, even given the Big Ten’s awful rep.

Would a one-loss ACC or Big 12 team still make the playoff over a one-loss Big Ten team? Probably, but again, it’s not a guarantee.

The worst-case scenario for the SEC is Auburn loses tonight, but navigates its brutal SEC schedule with only one other loss and emerges as conference champions for the second straight year. The selection committee still would likely give Auburn a bid to the College Football Playoff, but it could hinder the conference’s chances of getting two teams in — especially since the East’s two top teams, Georgia and South Carolina, already have one loss.

Tonight in Manhattan will go a long way toward determining the landscape of the first College Football Playoff. Buckle up.

Permalink 15 Comments Back to top

Vols receiving corps battling high-ankle issues

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpti4nja1mzexodg1ymjkmdqzyzkynwnhnzk0m2rhngqx AP

A lingering leg injury will sideline a key piece of Tennessee’s passing attack for at least another game, head coach Butch Jones has confirmed, while a separate injury issue could sideline yet another piece the same weekend — if not longer.

On his radio show Wednesday night, Jones stated that Von Pearson won’t play in UT’s game against Georgia.  That’s despite the fact that the Vols are on a bye this weekend and don’t play the Bulldogs until Sept. 27.

Pearson suffered a high-ankle sprain in the Week 2 win over Arkansas State, and didn’t play in the Week 3 loss to Oklahoma.  The goal now is to get the receiver back for the weekend after the UGA game.

“[R]ight now we’re really working exceptionally hard to get him back for the (Oct. 4) Florida game, but as you know, the body heals in different time frames,” Jones said. “It heals when it’s ready to heal.”

Pearson, a JUCO transfer, is third on the team in receiving yards with 98 and fourth in receptions with seven.

The status of another receiver is up in the air for the UGA game as well.  Josh Smith suffered a similar high-ankle sprain in the loss to the Sooners and won’t practice at all this week.

Jones said earlier in the week it’s not yet known whether Smith will play in the Vols’ SEC opener two Saturdays from now, even as there are reports that he’ll be sidelined for 2-6 weeks.

There isn’t a time frame on it,” Jones said. “He could be ready for Georgia, but we’ll wait and see.”

Through three games, Smith is second on the team in catches (10) and receiving yards (135).

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

Tom Rossley returns, hopes to fix SMU’s offensive woes

Tom Rossley

The ship may be sinking, and this could be akin to rearranging the deck chairs, but SMU is not going down without an effort to turn things around in the here and now.

Earlier this week SMU interim head coach Tom Mason announced that he has added Tim Davis to his Mustangs coaching staff, with Davis’ job being to help with a porous offensive line.  While this next move is not yet officially official, it’s also directed at helping an inept offense.

Pending school approval, Mason has decided to add Tom Rossley as an offensive consultant.  Despite the addition not being official, the 68-year-old Rossley is already working with the coaching staff — and already causing some extra homework for the Mustangs’ upcoming opponent.

I’m investigating Rossley a little bit,” Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder, whose Aggies play the Mustangs Saturday, said according to the Dallas Morning News. “I know he’s been put on staff, so there’ll be some adjusting going on in the first quarter, no doubt about that. Who knows what we’re going to get; we’ve got no idea.”

Interestingly, Rossley’s last job was at Texas A&M as quarterbacks coach from 2008-11.

Rossley’s name should be a very familiar one to SMU fans, too. From 1991-96, Rossley served as the Mustangs’ head coach and compiled a record of 15-48-3.

He’s proficient in spread-style offense, which was a significant reason for the decision to bring him back.

Aside from the SMU and A&M years, a sizable chunk of Rossley’s recent coaching career came at the NFL level at the quarterbacks coach of the Atlanta Falcons (1990); wide receivers and tight ends for the Chicago Bears (1997-98); Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks coach (1999); and offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers (2000-05).

(Photo credit: SMU athletics)

Permalink 4 Comments Back to top

USF expects to get one starter back as another remains sidelined

South Florida v Central Florida Getty Images

There’s good news and not-so-good news when it comes to a pair of USF offensive starters.

First, the good.  According to offensive coordinator Paul Wulff, offensive lineman Thor Jozwiak — could he have played any other position with that name? — will very likely play in the Bulls’ AAC opener Friday against UConn.  Jozwiak suffered an injury in the season opener and hasn’t played since.

He did, though, return to practice this week and would be a welcome addition to a unit that’s struggled mightily without him.

“He does bring some leadership and vocal qualities,” Wulff said according to the Tampa Tribune. “We don’t have a lot of that on the offensive line. We need more of those veteran players to step up that have been here. Thor can give us some of those attributes we’ve been missing there on the offensive front.”

Jozwiak started five games in 2012 and was in line to start the entire 2013 season before being sidelined for the year because of a heart condition.

On the not-so-bright personnel side, head coach Willie Taggart confirmed that star wide receiver Andre Davis will remain sidelined for the foreseeable future. Davis suffered a sternum injury in the opener, and it doesn’t seem like he’s close to returning to the playing field.

“It’s going to take some time to get him right,” Taggart said. “We want Andre to come back when he’s 100-percent healthy. That’s the only way he’s going to help our football team and he’s not 100 percent right now.”

Davis is 14 receptions and 162 yards away from becoming the school’s all-time leader in both categories, surpassing Hugh Smith (131, 1999-2002) and Carlton Mitchell (1,648, 2007-09).

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

Report: starting Auburn DB suspended after verbal confrontation with coach

Arkansas v Auburn Getty Images

It appears No. 5 Auburn will go into its nationally-televised prime-time affair Thursday night without an experienced member of its secondary.

An AU official, Ryan Black of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer tweeted, confirmed that Jermaine Whitehead did not travel with his teammates to No. 20Kansas State earlier today.  Because of that, Whitehead will not play in the game against the Wildcats, al.com also confirmed.

While neither of those papers gave a reason for the decision, AuburnUndercover.com wrote that “[a]ccording to knowledgeable sources, Whitehead had a verbal confrontation with an Auburn assistant coach, resulting in his suspension.”

His future beyond Thursday’s game is unclear as well, the website reported.

The loss of Whitehead for even one game is a significant one.  He’s started the last 26 games at safety, and currently leads the Tigers in interceptions with two. One of those picks was returned for a touchdown in the season-opening win over Arkansas.

As for a replacement, al.com writes that while “freshman Stephen Roberts is listed as Whitehead’s backup on Auburn’s depth chart… it’s possible cornerback Josh Holsey could move to free safety after playing in the boundary last season.”

Permalink 7 Comments Back to top

UofL QB Bonnafon mourning dad’s death, won’t be available Sat.

Miami v Louisville

The latest example of many things being more important than a game of football is Louisville’s Reggie Bonnafon.

The backup quarterback will not travel with his teammates for the Cardinals’ game against FIU Saturday because his father, Wallace Bonnafon, died unexpectedly Monday of heart failure.  The player didn’t practice Tuesday as he left the school to go home and be with his family.

“We won’t have Reggie this week,” head coach Bobby Petrino said. “It’s a very tough situation for him and his family, something that caught him a little bit off guard.

“The plans are they’re going to have the showing on Friday and the funeral on Saturday, so he’s just going to focus on helping his mom and the rest of his family.”

Despite being listed as the No. 2 quarterback, Bonnafon has seen significant action this season. He’s thrown attempted 20 passes the past two games, throwing for 151 yards and a touchdown. In the UofL’s upset loss to Virginia Saturday, he briefly replaced benched starter Will Gardner.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Bonnafon and his family for their loss.

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

Jim Mora playing coy with Brett Hundley’s status for ASU game

UCLA v Texas Getty Images

UCLA already knows it won’t face Arizona State’s starting quarterback, Taylor Kelly, in a huge Pac-12 matchup a week from Thursday.  There are also question marks surrounding the Bruins’ starter at the position, but their head coach has decided to play things close to the vest for the time being.

Brett Hundley suffered an elbow injury in the first quarter of the Week 3 win over Texas and didn’t return.  The bye this weekend should certainly help Hundley’s availability for the ASU game as he rehabs what’s described as a slight hyper extension of his left (non-throwing) elbow.

“No,” the head coach said when asked about the the injury. “They work every day with the medical staff to get back out there as quick as they can and when they’re ready to go they put them back out there and they’re ready to go.

“So, that’s about it.”

If Hundley is unable to go against the Sun Devils, logic would suggest that Jerry Neuheisel would get the start.  After replacing injured starter, the son of former Bruins head coach Rick Neuheisel threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns, the second one a 33-yarder with three minutes left that proved to be the game-winner.  For that performance, Neuheisel was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.

Mora, though, wouldn’t even commit to Neuheisel as the starter if Hundley is sidelined.

“Just because Jerry went in that game doesn’t mean that’s our backup quarterback,” said Mora after practice. “We’ve never determined who’s No. 2, 3, 4. We’ve got a whole bunch of guys. Next time someone has to go in, it could be Asiantii (Woulard). Heck, Asiantii might start the Arizona State game. Who knows?”

Permalink 0 Comments Back to top

David Ash retires from football; UT loses DT to season-ending injury

David Ash, Jarrian Roberts AP

It was bad news all around on the personnel front for Texas Wednesday.

During a press conference this evening, head coach Charlie Strong revealed that quarterback David Ash has decided to retire from the game of football due to multiple concussions.  Ash suffered yet another head injury in the season opener against North Texas and hasn’t played since.

Strong stated that it was Ash who “actually came up to me and approached me” about retiring from the sport. The decision came after consultation with the UT medical staff, and it was likely the wisest course of action given Ash’s history.

In addition to the issue this year, he also missed most of last year due to a concussion suffered early on in the season.  After incurring the original injury Sept. 7, Ash returned two weeks later only to see the concussion symptoms recur and sideline him yet again.  In late November, Ash was officially shut down for what little was left of the season.  In mid-January, he was cleared by the UT medical staff to resume football activities.

In mid-April this year, Ash broke a bone in his left foot and missed the remainder of spring practice.

“‘There was no way we were going to let you back out on the field,'” Strong said he told Ash.

Tyrone Swoopes, who took over for Ash the past two games, will be the starter still moving forward. As Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman tweeted, “[i]t doesn’t appear they want to play freshman Jerrod Heard at all.” Heard was a prized member of Strong’s first Longhorn recruiting class, a four-star signee rated as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the country.

In addition to the news on Ash, Strong also announced that defensive tackle Desmond Jackson will miss the remainder of the season with an ankle injury.  Jackson, you may recall, was the player responsible for the coin toss kerfuffle prior to the UCLA loss this past Saturday.

 

Jackson started 13 games the past two-plus seasons at UT.

Permalink 8 Comments Back to top

D.J. Morgan leaves USC football, still has eyes on NFL

D.J. Morgan

The star-crossed and injury-plagued USC football career of D.J. Morgan has officially come to an end.

Tuesday, the running back-turned-defensive back as well as head coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed the player is no longer a part of the team.  Morgan will remain in school, however, as he wants to run track for the Trojans this spring.

“We’re wishing him the best of luck,” Sarkisian said.

Morgan also stated that he’s not retiring from the game of football, and that he still holds NFL aspirations.  Instead, he wants to give his body time to heal before pursuing that dream.

I realize I still have a lot left in me,” Morgan said of his football skills. “I haven’t played in a while and I just want to get my body back.”

Morgan was a four-star member of USC’s 2010 recruiting class, rated as the No. 3 all-purpose running back in the country and the No. 68 player at any position in the country. That recruiting résumé, however, never translated to much on-field success.

Thanks to injuries that cost him all of the 2013 season and half of 2012, he finishes his Trojan career with 364 yards rushing and a touchdown.

During summer camp, and in an effort to jump-start his career, Morgan was moved from the offensive backfield to the defensive secondary. The move came at Morgan’s request.

(Photo credit: USC athletics)

Permalink 1 Comment Back to top